Rohit Sharma kickstarted his tryst with opening the innings in Test cricket in spectacular fashion. The 32-year-old became just the fourth Indian cricketer to register a hundred in his first innings as an opener in Test cricket, joining the likes of Shikhar Dhawan [187 vs Aus, 2013], KL Rahul [110 vs Aus, 2015] and Prithwi Shaw [134 vs WI, 2018].
Sharma scored a nonchalant 244-ball 176; an innings which included 23 fours and 6 sixes, and along with double-centurion Mayank Agarwal , wet on to accumulate 317 runs for the opening wicket; the third-highest 1st wicket stand for India and the highest since the 410-run stand between Rahul Dravid and Virender Sehwag in 2006.
A lot of former Indian cricketers have weighed on the Rohit debate for a long time now and the latest to join the bandwagon is Robin Uthappa. Uthappa, who was a key member of the Indian side when Rohit Sharma made his debut against England during the 2007 World Twenty20. Speaking to media, Uthappa reckoned that the opportunity has come at the right time for the Mumbaikar.
“I think he has figured out opening the batting and this opportunity came at the right moment for Rohit to capitalize on it. So it’s not a surprise that he is successful,” said the 33-year old who was a key member of India’s WT20 win in 2007.
Uthappa also reckoned that Sharma has always done well in India and abroad and white-ball cricket, and he has reached a point in his career where he understands his batting really well, “He has always done well in India and abroad. In white-ball cricket, he dominates the scene right now. He is arguably one of the best batsmen in the world,” Uthappa told as quoted by India Today on the sidelines of Kolkata Knight Riders’ Plant A 6 Campaign.
“Given that situation, he must be going through a huge surge in confidence. He has reached a point in his career where he understands his batting really well and he knows what works for him and how to approach him.
Unfair to compare Rohit with Virender Sehwag
Ever since the idea of slotting Rohit as a Test match opener has been coined, there has been constant comparison with the guy who revolutionized the role of opening in the longest format of the game. Virat Kohli, in his pre-match presser, linked Rohit with Virender Sehwag, alluding that Sharma can play the same role which Sehwag did do prudently throughout his career.
However, Robin Uthappa refused to compare both batsmen, Uthappa alluded that aggression was the only common denominator between Sehwag and Rohit, linking the former opener to a demolisher while referring to Rohit as a caresser of the ball.
Uthappa said, “It’s not right to compare. He has his own style of batting. They are both aggressive that’s the common thread. Viru pa was more a demolisher of the ball while Rohit caresses it. The way they go about dealing with bowlers is vastly different but the aggressive nature in the common factor.”